Success in location-based social media is all about influence

In the summer of 2010, Forrester Research released a study that found only 4 percent of U.S. adults have used location-based mobile applications like Foursquare.

However, the demographic make-up of these early adopters is highly desirable to many marketers. Eighty percent of location-based service users are male and 70 percent are between 19 and 35 years old, having bachelor’s degrees or higher. Even more importantly, Forrester found these location-app users to be influential.

  • More likely to say friends and family ask their opinions before making a purchase
  • More receptive to mobile coupons/offers
  • More likely to research products and read customer reviews on their phone before making a purchase

In the world of social media, influence is king. As this group increases in size, its sphere of influence grows exponentially.

In April 2010, Twitter said 37 percent of its usage came from mobile phones. Analysts believe this number will be much higher today as people use Twitter to reveal aspects of their daily lives. As mobile social usage increases, the influence also grows. Once Twitter starts allowing users to claim venues, through Twitter Places, where tweets originate, location-based services will really take off.

“We are not looking to duplicate the functionality of Foursquare and Gowalla,” said Twitter CEO Evan Williams. “When you are tweeting about a place, it is kind of a check-in, but we are more interested in the content about that place.”

Forrester Analyst Melissa Parrish believes that “male-oriented brands should forge the way with location-based services and other marketers should hang back until these apps get bigger audiences.”

As adoption of Foursquare and other location-based social networks are growing the value will only rise. For marketers, it is important to consider that the sooner you get involved, the faster your network gains influence and the greater likelihood that you’ll reap benefits from leading-edge platforms.

Let us know if you’ve adopted location based social media and your successes. Share your thoughts with us on Facebook at Weise Communications and follow @Weise_Ideas on Twitter.

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